On April 15, 2005, NASA launched a spacecraft on a mission dart Launched to rendezvous with a small communication satellite. The launch went according to plan, but the mission ended abruptly when the spacecraft collided with the satellite.
You have a mission
The mission was known as DART, a shorthand for autonomous rendezvous technology. The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate that a fully autonomous, unmanned spacecraft could rendezvous with another spacecraft in orbit. At that time only Roscosmos And Xaxa They had independent spacecraft navigation.
The cost of building, launching, and operating the spacecraft in 2001 was estimated at $110 million, and Dart was launched on April 15, 2005.
After the launch, the spacecraft successfully reached the orbit and rendezvoused with the target satellite within a few hours. The spacecraft’s automated systems began to approach the satellite autonomously, and there was no ability to pilot from Earth or make program changes. Therefore, the dart was guided based on pre-programmed criteria.
These two objects were not supposed to communicate with each other, and during the operation, there were several malfunctions in the spacecraft’s navigation and propulsion. But as the spacecraft approached its target, it ran out of fuel and accidentally crashed into it.
The researchers found that the Dart’s thruster had over-speeded due to a problem in its navigation system. However, the collision was smooth and none of the spacecrafts were significantly damaged. The mission ended with this encounter and with less than half of its initial objectives completed.
The Dart spacecraft entered Earth’s atmosphere on May 7, 2016 over the South Pacific Ocean.